Friday, November 4, 2011
My journey with Girlyman started a little over four years ago, on the eve of my first day of high school, when I heard them open for the Indigo Girls at Wolftrap. Now, I was pretty unenthused for this concert to begin with as we were going with my ex-aunt, who I severely dislike. I got into a few of Girlyman's songs for at least their duration, but I think the experience was overwhelmingly eclipsed by my general indifference to the title act and a reasonable amount of anxiety about the day to come. I never thought to think about how deeply I had emotionally connected with the music (a point which is now critical for my appreciation of an artist or song). At any rate, at least six months later I still had this song, "Reva Thereafter," stuck in my head. I could remember the chorus, that the guy had sung it, and that it was about his grandma. I couldn't forget this song, and so the quest began. I told my mom I wanted the album with "Reva" on it. Low and behold, my mom gave me Joyful Sign, for Christmas. Thus marks our true anniversary. Since then, I have seen the band live three times (one of which was a few hours ago), and own all but one of their albums (and, yes, I pre-ordered the upcoming one, Supernova). On another note, music has always spoken deeply to me. I can't help but sing along at the top of my lungs anytime something I know is on and dance like I ought to be institutionalized. I have also played violin for nine years. There is, of couse, some specific music that has always particularly appealed to me. Probably fostered by my parents playing Tracy Chapman and Mark Chapin Carpenter, acoustic and folk sounds have always been a soft spot. Anyway, I love Girlyman's sound, rapport, and message. At first I just loved the songs, and then I came to realize that I lived all the songs. In my 17 years I have managed to be in two incredibly serious relationships (one two and half years and one at least that though probably closer to four) and I have gotten to feel all the pain of a 13 year old in love. Girlyman speaks to me in this. It has also informed an incredible amount of my transition from an awkward teenager to self-confidant young adult. Girlyman is about anything and everything, it is about life and living, loving and laughing. So I feel this odd bond to these three (well, four now) people who have taught me so much of who I am but who I have only exchanged a maximum of 100 words with ever. Last year, on November 19, I saw Girlyman perform at the Barns at Wolftrap. Nate, Ty, and JJ were joking about how Dorris had gotten sick on their UK tour and was refusing to let go of her last piece of Britain. About ten days later, Dorris was diagnosed with leukemia. Well, tonight, November 3, I saw Girlyman at the Brans at Wolftrap. Dorris is officially cancer-free. So not only have these people changed my life, I have also been a part of this incredible journey for them, if only through passionately singing along to their music literally everyday driving to and from school. I don't know that I, personally, would have survived high school remotely as intact if I hadn't had that outlet for happiness, sadness, anger, and everything in between. It's remarkable that I will cry with these people I don't know just as soon as I would laugh with them. Somehow, something is communicated through those harmonies that is deeper than a long friendship and more unbreakable than blood. The really sad part is, that connection, it only goes one way.